Our constant hustle culture often focuses on the inward version of leadership. How can we be more effective? What skills do we need to build? In what ways can we build an empire of greatness? 

If there’s one thing I have learned as an entrepreneur and a leader, it’s that there’s fault in that line of thinking. An internally focused version of leadership ignores the most important part of life: the people around us. If in your heart, your intentions are not about what you can do for others, you’ve already lost. Hustle over. 

Truly great leaders prioritize purpose over profit. They ask: how will this impact someone else’s life? They give back often because they know life is about so much more than them. In my latest venture, Certified, I put that ideology in play. I’ve created a business model around using streetwear-inspired hoodies for good. This passion project has allowed me to reverse my thinking and fuel my strategy with purpose first so I can genuinely fulfill my long-life mission of helping others through creative channels.

Here are three lessons I have learned about becoming a purposeful, others-focused leader. 

No Leader Can Do It on Their Own

No person can do life on their own. We are meant to be in community, to collaborate. 

Being a founding member of the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career because it allows me to connect with others, work through challenges and address issues and questions. 

But this would not be possible without authenticity, the key ingredient to building relationships with partners, members, colleagues and employees. A profound leader is easy to connect with, trustworthy and openly shares knowledge with others. 

A genuine leader also knows that it’s impossible to know everything. While I am an advocate for professional development, I think the best form of growth comes from connection with others who have faced similar challenges. 

Identify a leader you look up to and learn about their journey, what resources they’ve used and how they’ve evolved. You can also reach out to a trusted mentor for regular advice. If you’re a more established leader, find a mentee. There’s just as much to be gained from this relationship as from being mentored.  

Then, surround yourself with other authentic individuals who encourage and support you. Life is better when you share it with others. 

Learn to Let Go

If I could go back, I would tell my younger self to stay focused. I used to get so distracted on things that did not serve me well. 

One of the keys in learning to let go is to trust those around you. As an employer, I have found the greatest reward comes from giving my employees the autonomy they need. They deserve the dignity to thrive and learn from their mistakes. 

As an individual, letting go means finding ways to ensure I have the right mindset. I take twice-daily walks with my dogs, which allows me to focus on what’s important, stay calm under pressure and see the bigger picture. 

Find ways to allow yourself to let go, whether it be through delegation, or a simple act of taking time for something that helps you prioritize and avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

Try Something New

It’s never too late to try something new. One of my biggest failures was that I waited too long to be active on social media. Who knows how many potential clients, customers or business partners I missed out on? Now, I have formed a habit to keep me connected online. I build time into my day to plan and create content for my followers

Simple day-to-day routine can be life-changing and help you achieve your goals. But what happens if your dream is something really big? Something that scares you? Go after it anyway. 

I’ve had a dream for a while to create a company with the power to help millions of people. From that dream, Certified was born with the goal of providing 100 meals to people in need for every product sold. 

What is your big dream? It’s never too late to get started and move forward with confidence. 

Ultimately, leadership is about bravery and fortitude. It’s about asking what’s my purpose and where does my purpose meet my passion? If you have an idea, pursue it. You never know what can come from it -– and who it might help.